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Serpentine solution timeline

Which is which? Grand Junction (left), which introduced the serpentine concept in 1962, was the model for Hendersonville's zigzag pattern in 1976-77. Which is which? Grand Junction (left), which introduced the serpentine concept in 1962, was the model for Hendersonville's zigzag pattern in 1976-77.

Timeline for Hendersonville's downtown revitalization in the mid-1970s.


1841: Judge Mitchell King donates 50 acres to help establish the city of Hendersonville on the condition that its Main Street be wide enough for a four-horse carriage to turn around.

1962: Grand Junction, Colorado, is named an All America City and gets national publicity for its “Operation Foresight,” which revitalized its downtown.
April 1975: Rose Pharmacy on Hendersonville’s Main Street becomes the fifth independent drug store downtown to close or move, leaving only Justus Pharmacy.
Summer 1975: The Hendersonville City Commission (now City Council) receives a report in its Sept. 4 meeting of city leaders’ visit to Grand Junction “several weeks ago” to see the city’s downtown. On the trip were city commissioners R.B. Shealy and Joel Wright, City Attorney Francis Coiner, WHKP owner Kermit Edney, Brunson’s owner D.B. Keith, real estate agent Jimmy Edney and others. On Sept. 4, the City Commission agrees to appoint a Downtown Revitalization Committee.

Sept. 10, 1975: The Downtown Revitalization Committee meets for the first time, with Jody Barber as chair, D.B. Keith as vice chair. Other charter members Mary Barber, architect Emory Jackson, Kermit Edney, attorney Charlie Waters and Duke Power executive Sam McGuirt.
Sept. 12, 1975: City Commission adopts a resolution asking NCDOT to remove Main Street downtown from the state highway system and designate King and Church streets as U.S. 25.
Sept. 15, 1975: Downtown committee adds Bill Hackett as a Times-News representative.
Sept. 17, 1975: Downtown committee adds R.B. Shealy.
Oct. 15, 1975: Downtown committee adds Ray Cantrell of the Chamber of Commerce and Cal Kuykendall of the Hendersonville Merchants Association.
Nov. 4, 1975: Around a dozen downtown property owners and merchants show up at a public information meeting of the Downtown Project Committee. Kermit Edney shows slides from the Grand Junction visit. Keith and Edney announce that the downtown taxing district levy would be 30 cents per $100 valuation for 10-12 years to finance the streetscape work. A parking cooperation was being formed to acquire property for parking along Church and King streets.
Nov. 13, 1975: Kermit Edney reports to the City Commission that “all merchants, with the exception of one or two,” favor the downtown revitalization plan.
Nov. 17, 1975: Supervised by engineer and assistant city water director Bill Lapsley, work begins downtown.
Dec. 30, 1975: City Commission adopts the downtown Municipal Service District, setting a property tax rate of 30 cents per $100 valuation.

Feb. 11, 1976: Downtown committee adds Police Chief Bill Powers, who serves as construction manager.
April 7, 1976: Downtown committee adds Bill Lapsley as controller.
May 1976: Respondents to a poll printed in the Times-News vote 389 to 138 against the new downtown street pattern. “Comparing this to Colorado is like comparing apples to oranges,” one respondent says. “Colorado has wider streets and doesn’t have retirees.”
June 16, 1976: City hires Diana Parnell as city gardener. She’s responsible for plantings downtown.
Sept. 18, 1976: Downtown committee adds Joe Brant as Beautification Committee representative.
Oct. 21, 1976: Three planters on the east side of Main Street are complete and two more are under construction, Chief Powers reports to the Downtown Committee.
Feb. 24, 1977: Parnell, the city gardener, orders Linden trees from a nursery in Princeton, New Jersey, that she will plant to replace diseased maples on Main Street. Three and a half inches in diameter and 14 feet tall, they cost $120 each.
March 2, 1977: Barber, the Downtown Committee chair, says he is drafting a letter to the Henderson County Board of Commissioner seeking an appropriation of $20,000 toward the Main Street improvements, the same amount the city appropriated (in addition to the special tax district funding). Barber plans to enclose a pre-World War I photo of a fountain on the Courthouse plaza “and suggest that the county reconstruct this.” Keith reports that the Downtown Parking Corp. has bought property at Third Avenue East and King Street and on Fifth Avenue West (the Jennie Bowen property) for parking lots.
July 1977: Barber, of the Downtown Committee, and Keith, of the Downtown Parking Corp., describe Hendersonville’s “Shopping Park” at a city planning institute at Appalachian State University. The institute chose Hendersonville’s streetscape project as a “successful program of downtown revitalization.”
September 1977: In a response to his inquiry, County Attorney Harley Stepp receives a opinion from the state attorney general endorsing his view that the county cannot legally appropriate money to the city for the downtown project.
Oct. 27, 1977: Hendersonville’s Main Street revitalization gains recognition regionally. The December issue of Southern City magazine featured the project and the N.C. League of Municipalities planned to highlight the project during a workshop on downtown revitalization in the spring of 1978.

SOURCES: Hendersonville Times-News, Hendersonville City Commission minutes, interviews.